Although the demise of King County Proposition 1 was the most noteworthy outcome of last night’s special election, it’s important to remember there were other measures on the ballot as well. According to the Washington Secretary of State’s office, there were thirty-five ballot measure on the ballot across the state.
Turnout was depressed this April, which is no different than other special elections in our state, with only about 20-30% of eligible voters casting their ballots in the special election. While we aren’t going to go into detail about all of them, here are some of the important results which came out of last night.
Proposition 1: Neighborhood Parks & Zoo Improvements and Safety Upgrades
Voters in Tacoma were asked to approve a $198 million dollar bond to be used for preserving parks and protecting natural areas, waterfront access, and local landmarks. This money would also be used to update animal care systems and safety at the Point Defiance Park, Zoo and Aquarium in order to maintain national accreditation. A major attraction in the area, the Zoo wouldn’t be able to obtain high-attention animals without the renovations funded by the ballot measure. About a third of the revenue will go towards the Zoo.
Voters in the Metropolitan Park District of Tacoma found it important to fund all of these improvements, and more than 63% of the ballots counted by Election Night voted yes. This is a result unlikely to change as more ballots are counted.
Spokane Valley Library Capital Facilities Area Proposition 1 &2
Spokane Valley, the City of Spokane’s more conservative neighbor (and a municipality whose idea of economic revitalization was putting shrubbery in the medians on the highway a couple of years ago) voted yesterday on two propositions, whether they should establish a Library Capital Facilities Area to raise revenue for library construction and renovation (Prop. 1).
Spokane Valley voters also were asked to decide whether to approve a $22 million bond to fund those projects. In this election, the people of Spokane Valley spoke in strong support for their public libraries and agreed to establish the Capital Facilities Area and fund the bond by around 58% and 54%, respectively.
Okanogan County Methow Valley Recreation District
In this special election about 6,000 voters in Okanogan County were deciding whether or not to create a park district. The Methow Valley Recreation District, as it would be called, would support community-based recreation facilities which are accessible both physically and financially for residents.
Instead of waiting until after the decision was made about whether the district should be established, an election was held concurrently for potential commissioners of the district, the only candidate election this April. Unfortunately, the measure failed with only 380 out of 1,905 votes cast in favor of the creation of the district.
In one of the quirks of this election, each of the winners of the commissioner races to govern the district received more votes for their election than the number of votes in favor of the actual creation of the Recreation District itself.